Fore Quarter

October 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Tucked in the artsy heart of Johnson Street, this local hotspot is a project of the Underground Kitchen collective. There’s no sign, just follow your nose. It’s a rustic, casual place with serious food. Go early, there’s always a line. Enjoy a beverage at the Caribou across the street while you wait for your table.

Seasonal Menu
The menu changes too frequently to recommend a specific dish, so I’ll recommend all of them. The cheese platter features an amazing local selection. Everything I’ve had has been out of this world. This is a must-try for people who enjoy food.

708 E. Johnson • Madison, WI • 53703


The Dining Room at 209 Main

January 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

Nestled in a charming restored building on Main St, Monticello, The Dining Room is a hidden gem of Wisconsin’s culinary treasure trove. The menu changes with the seasons, so if there is something you’re craving, check the website. After one visit, I would trust anything Chef presented. One unique feature is the display of local textile art, hung throughout the restaurant. I like the community connection and atmosphere it nurtures. 

Appetizer: Smoked Rainbow Trout
served on three miniature cornmeal pancakes, with creme fraiche, tobiko and caramelized fennel. Yum. This was a delightful way to start the meal. This perfectly-sized portion is a wonderful balance of flavors. The strong smokey trout is foiled with the creme. The light anise of the fennel will make you look at the vegetable in a whole new light. Enough to split between two without feeling deprived.

Entree: Grilled beef tenderloin filet
with worcestershire glaze, blue cheese cream, fresh asparagus and mashed potatoes. The beef was cooked perfectly, medium rare unless you say otherwise. The sweetness of the glaze and tartness of the blue cheese cream made a tongue-tingling combination. The asparagus was just lightly sautéed, enough to keep the bright green color and crunchy middle. I could eat this every time.

Entree: Sautéed veal cutlets
with a white wine lemon and caper reduction sauce, mashed potatoes, fresh asparagus and a creamy crab and shallot compote. The veal was fantastic, but for me it was all about the sauce. The sauce was rich, intriguing and addictive enough to make you want to lick the plate. The crab and shallot was an exciting grouping, a great balance to the sauce. The vegetables were delicious, but bring me more sauce.

Dessert: Crème Brulée
Pamper yourself with this fantastically light, creamy and heavenly dessert. For those of you on the quest for the perfect crème brulée, this one must be put to the test. The top crust is ever so thin, and more delicate than an eggshell. The crème is smooth with lovely specks of vanilla bean seeds in every bite.

Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding with toasted pecans
They say this dessert is the best dessert in the world. They say this dessert, if shared with a loved one, will test your relationship. This dessert is all that and more. It is a must for first-time diners. If trying more than one dessert, have this one last because it will overwhelm your palette and send it into ecstatic raptures.

The food was so amazing from start to finish, we bought the cook book for the sauces, and so should you.

209 Main St • Monticello, WI • 53570
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday


Weary Traveler Freehouse

October 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Originally a refuge for travelers back in the day, this is a traditional cozy Wisconsin tavern with rustic wooden tables and chairs that look like they’ve been around since the city was built. The Weary attracts the hungry throngs of Willie St. It’s a casual, seat yourself, squeeze in where you can, dining experience.

Bob’s Bad Breath Burger
Also known as the “Weary Burger”, a half pound of hand-packed fresh ground Lange Farms organic Wisconsin beef with cream cheese, green goddess dressing, caramelized onions, garlic, tomatoes and Pickapeppa Sauce, and a side of Yukon Gold potatoes & mixed greens. This burger has a cult following for a reason. It’s one of the best burgers in Madison, if not, the world.

Drink: The Catfish
Seltzer and fresh lime juice. You have a choice between Rose’s and fresh, but I always pick fresh. Add a shot of your choice spirit to make it adult.

1201 Williamson Street • Madison, WI • 53703
Hours: Opens 4:00 pm Monday • 11:30 am Tuesday through Sunday.


Bradbury’s Coffee House

July 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Bradbury’s is a fantastic crepe and coffee house, in the glass triangle at Hamilton, Dayton and Webster.  Usually populated with the laptop elite, you may have to jockey for a seat or wedge yourself between dissertation writers and bloggers.  It’s a place where you could spend all morning talking, working, studying.  You won’t get strange looks for holding down a table, as long as you have at least a coffee in front of you.  The staff is friendly and the service quick.  I recommend Bradbury’s to all my friends staying down town.

Nutella Crepe
Need I say more? The nutella crepe is a delectable fluffy crepe filled with banana and nutella. It’s amazing.  When in doubt, order this with a cup of Kickapoo coffee or cappuccino, complete with foam art, for a decadent breakfast.

127 N. Hamilton • Madison, WI • 53703
Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30 am – 6:30 pm • Sat-Sun 6:30 am – 5:30 pm


Chanticleer Guest House

June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Chanticleer Guest House is a haven of relaxation and charm. Built on a working sheep farm, there are eight luxury suites in the renovated barn and stables and four luxury cabins across the road.  Every room has a queen or king bed, double whirlpool bath, gas fire place, and rustic-chic decor.  The garden is full of blooms and birds, worthy of a painter’s canvas.  There is a heated pool and sauna available, with beach towels to borrow.  There’s a common room with fresh fruit, cookies and coffee.  Four days here made me feel like two weeks had gone by.  Book early because they fill up fast.  I can’t wait to go back.

Breakfast at Chanticleer Guest House is a feast of homemade goodness. There are perfect portions of fresh baked fruit breads or muffins in a basket, fruit with whipped cream, herb and Parmesan eggs on occassion, an urn of fresh brewed coffee, and bottle of orange juice. This is all delivered to your door in a huge wicker basket. I could totally get used to this.

4072 Cherry Road (CTH HH) • Sturgeon Bay, WI • 54235
Open Year Round

The Whistling Swan

June 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

On the main road through Fish Creek, WI is The Whistling Swan restaurant, a haven of culinary delight. This place was recommended by a friend, and I would recommend it to everyone else who goes to Door County. If it’s not your first stop, at least make it a part of your plan. The dining room is the reclaimed porch of the Whistling Swan Inn, brought into the modern age with pristine black and cream paint. Tall windows line the entire room, giving an airy, refreshing atmosphere.

Steamed Mussels and Clams
This is a classic sauté in white wine, shallots and garlic, really the only way to eat mussels. Fantastic!

Grilled Hawaiian Marlin
Served with a salad of black lentils, tat soi, and asparagus, topped with miso almond milk sauce and pickled ginger. The marlin is just lightly seared, leaving it raw in the middle.  If you love seared sashimi tuna, like I do, you’ll love this dish.  The combination of unique flavors makes it irresistible.

Housemade Pork Shoulder Ravioli
This dish is so cool in so many ways. First off, it’s made with goose-egg dough.  Secondly, the sauce is a reduction from the pork shoulder. Along with the sauce and delicious ravioli is spinach, shitake mushrooms, hazelnuts, and horseradish.  This is a rich, amazing dish that must be tried.

4192 Main Street • Fish Creek, WI • 54212


Nostrano – Closed

April 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Update: This restaurant is now closed. 

This boutique dinner spot is one of Madison’s gems on the Capitol Loop. Rustic wood furniture contrasts with the sophisticated and stylish atmosphere. Reservations might be necessary if you want to guarantee a place in the small seating area.

Sea Scallops, Risotto
Serving only local and seasonal foods, Nostrano is an adventure for the culinary explorer. The scallops were perfectly cooked and melted in the mouth. The risotto was fluffy and divine. This chef knows his stuff. The menu is vague, but do not let that intimidate you. Take a leap of faith, it’ll be worth it.

111 S. Hamilton St • Madison, WI • 53703
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 5-9pm • Thursday-Saturday 5-10pm


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